Killybegs, one of Ireland's busiest seafood hubs, is to receive a total of €50 million in investment in support of the region's fish processing industry.
Several Killybegs-based companies are receiving investments to modernize and develop their facilities under the Brexit Process Capital Support Scheme, implemented by Ireland's seafood agency, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM).
The funds, according to BIM, are intended to boost Killybegs as a seafood processing port, transforming the region into "a more attractive location for fishing vessels to land and discharge catch that might otherwise go to the UK, mainland Europe, Norway, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands".
In the process, BIM says, the money will help to "futureproof" the processing sector in the region, while increasing employment opportunities.
For Killybegs Seafoods, a longstanding part of the region's seafood community founded in 1968, the investment comes as part of a long-term strategy for business sustainability and ongoing viability of local jobs. The business employs up to 90 people during its peak season.
Managing Director of Killybegs Seafoods, John McGuinness, said the main objective is "to bring transformational change to the business", explaining that the investment will enable the company "to process larger volumes of fish more efficiently and to create capacity for the development of increased value-added produce, primarily mackerel fillets."
Meanwhile, another historic Killybegs family business, Gallagher Bros., established in 1919, plans a significant update, with a new plant and automation process improving production efficiency, and with an emphasis on producing mackerel and blue whiting products. The company employs around 100 people.
"We are very excited now about the future," said Gallagher Bros Director, David Gallagher. "We will be able to target more premium customers and the automated system will enable flexibility in production to offer high-quality mackerel fillets."
"In the wake of reduced supply of raw material, the scheme is vital in supporting capital investments that put an emphasis on "creating more from less", encouraging processors to produce higher value product and focus on secondary processing and beyond," BIM noted in a press statement.
Other seafood processors in Killybegs who make up the total €50 million investment include Norfish Ltd, Premier Fish Products, Donegal Fish, Sean Ward Fish Exports, Island Seafoods, and Albatross Seafoods.